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The final pro hockey game at the Spectrum has been played.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Phantoms vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers 1-2-09: First Period

During the pregame skate, I noticed that Jared Ross is wearing the C. Kane is, apparently going to be back later rather than sooner, as for short-term absences we're more likely to go with 3 assistant captains than reassign the C. On Kane's behalf, "DARN!" On Ross's behalf, "Go get 'em, Jared!" In any event, that makes TWO of our erstwhile top line out of the lineup. Giroux is up with the Flyers, and Kane is injured. It's going to make a royal hash of our regular PP and PK units, as well. Nothing like getting various combinations used to playing on special teams with one another, I guess.

Scratches: Zarb, Guenin, Beaulieu, Kane, Hersley.
Starting Lineup: Munroe, Syvret, Parent, Ross, Nodl, Sirianni.

Good old ref Nygel P. -- we can't even get 90 seconcs into the game without a penalty being called. Matsumoto goes off for slashing. Ross/Nodl with Syvret/Parent are the first PK grouping. Ryan and Raduns are now out with Bartulis and Curry. So far, so good. Sort of... Parent and the trainer made their way up the tunnel. That can't be what we want to see. We've got enough banged-up D already without losing a guy before the first four minutes have passed.We kept the puck out despite a lot of activity in front of our net, and when Matsumoto got out, he and Szwez returned the favor. We hustled down to the Bridgeport end, and got a couple of solid attempts on goal. The score remains 0-0.

NICE HIT, Ratchuk -- his pass got picked off, so he buried the guy who took the puck in the corner. That's one way to atone for a slip-up.

Oh, good, Parent is out again. He must not have needed too much repair work. That's a relief. Because I can say for certain that besides Zarb, EVERY other scratched guy on our list is injured. And to be frank, I suspect that Zarb's banged-up, as well. I seem to recall that in the last game he played, he was having a long conversation with the trainer while on the bench.

Anyway, back to the game. We have a bit more activity in front of our net in the past couple of shifts than I would like to see. I want us to be he first team to score in this game... We have to stop playng catch-up. And Mastumoto/Szwez/Laliberte have been looking ike a grouping that is capable of putting us on the board. That is, if the attempts they are making would reach the flipping net. We haven't had a shot on goal for about five minutes now -- we are being outshot 10-2, and those two shots came shortly after we killed the penalty.

If we need to kill a penalty before taking a shot on goal, then we are in luck. Sirianni is in the sin bin for trippng. Nodl s making a shortanded rush, though he got corralled into the half-boards in the Bridgeport end. Ross/Nodl just spent some quality time trying to generate a shorthanded shot on goal... We didn't actually get one, but then again nether did the Sound Tigers for the amount of time we were in their zone. We killed a good 20-30 seconds playing in the Sound Tigers end and the neutral zone to start the penalty. That's always good. Of course, the Sound Tigers did eventually get ino our end, and Munroe had to stop a ong shot from the point through a scree. We also did luck out at one point, when Munroe was down after making a save, and the Sound Tigers; number 71 shot the rebound wide of the open net. Hey, I'll take some luck here and there. I'll happily accept any combination of lucky and good that will earn us a W. :)

Szwez just BURIED his fellow number 38 over at the Briegeport haf-boards. The Bridgeport player limped off the ice. THere's 8:52 left in the first period, and we are being out shot 14-2. Let me describe to you the number of ways that I am NOT HAPPY with the ay we are being outshot right now. Grrrrrr... OK we were shorthanded for four minutes. That still doesn't account for the shot differential. It's odd, because I like a lot of things I see when we are actually tryig to create offense, but the freaking puck just doesn't seem to be reaching the net. At all.

Now here we go with a defensive zone draw, after which we have ended up in our zone again. Maroon, Raduns, and Clackson are out with Bartulis and DeSantis. Oh, holy cow, we dodged another bullet for sure... Yet another Sound Tiger missed a wide open net.

Finally, with 6:10 left in the period, Ross gets our third shot on goal. Geesh, about time!

But I guess that there is something to be said in favor of lulling the opposng goaltender to sleep, as our fifth shot, which came almost immediately on the heels of the previous two, went in the net. Ratchuk fired a bomb from the point and scored, assisted by Nodl and Ross. 1-0 good guys, and we are finaly playing with a freaking lead again. :)

Clackson and Bridgeport's #18 had a brief fight on the shift after the goal. It hardly lasted more than a few seconds before Clackson got the takedown.

Syvret just had an incredible keep-in at the Bridgeport blueline. He stre-e-e-etched his stick out and swept the puck back into the zone before it had completely crossed the blue paint into the neutral zone. Go, go, gadget hockey stick. :)

A Sound Tiger just RIPPED a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle. Munroe's pad save bounced waaaay out toward the blueline. One of our D scooped it up and aremoved it from harm's way.

Parent just blasted one from the right point, only to see his stick separate neatly into two halves. Gosh darn freaking stick breakages. What a pain in the nether end.

Oh, here we have something familiar: a PP in the final minute of the period. We didn't score on it, so we will still have 1:11 left of PP time to start the second period. AT the end of the first period, we have a 1-0 lead. The shot count is Phantoms 8, Sound Tigers 17.

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